Hungarian Film Club: Kontroll (Antal Nimród, 2003)


Bulcsú is a subway enforcement officer working in the oppressively gray underground transit system in Budapest, whose job consists of ensuring commuters have paid to ride the train. A quirky young woman (Eszter Balla) catches his eye, and their relationship suggests that Bulcsú might escape from the drudgery of his subterranean life and finally see sunlight again. But first he needs to find out why passengers are jumping -- or being pushed -- to their deaths onto the tracks.

"Kontroll”is Nimród Antal’s feature debut and became an instant cult straight after its release. Its success is grounded on masterful and efficient mixing of different elements such as dark comedy, thriller, surreal horror, music video trends of the time and was influenced by American genre films of the seventies and eighties. "Kontroll" is a highly entertaining film , difficult to forget and - due to its originality, mood and remarkable characters (and actor’s performances) - calls for many re-watches.

The film won several awards and nominations, among them awards in Cannes and at Chicago International Film Festival. The success of "Kontroll" subsequently opened the door in the United States for Antal, who was born in Los Angeles to parents of Hungarian descent and moved to Budapest to study film in 1991. He directed several high budget features since then, collaborating with Robert Rodriguez, Luke Wilson, Kate Beckinsale and Metallica among others.